Know When To Keep Silent

8 Jun

“Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.”  ~ Robert Frost

One of the things that has always amazed and amused me throughout my years of priesthood has been young children.  Whenever I have had the opportunity to visit a preschool or kindergarten class, or even first or second grade, the amount of chatter is phenomenal.  The children’s eyes and faces just light up when a visitor enters the room and they all begin talking at once.  If I am trying to read a story to them, I will get all sorts of “you know whats” as interruptions because the children so desperately have things that they want to tell me.

What makes it so amusing, and I am sure you have experienced this with children as well, is that when they are given a chance to say what they want to say, there is so much inside that they “short circuit”.  They tell one thing, stop and start telling something else, stop and go back to the first topic.  If you’re lucky.

I always want to laugh; but, the look of sincerity on their faces tells me that laughing would not be a good thing.  I wouldn’t want them to think that what they had to say was not important to me. The only problem is that I will never know what they had to say because they never get all of it out.

Have you ever met chatterboxes like that?  They come in all sorts of ages, you know.  They are not always children.  Sometimes they are frustrated teens, agitated adults, or the aged with dementia issues.  They may not know what they want to say or how to go about saying it but they are going to keep trying.  Silence is not an option.

Chatterboxes do come in all sorts of ages.  Including our own.  Have you ever been a chatterbox?  Every kept talking even though you didn’t quite know what you were saying or how best to say it?  That is all of us at one time or another in our lives.  And that is also most of us when it comes to our prayer life.

I imagine God saying to us quite often, “Slow down, slow down.  You’re talking too fast.  You’re saying too much.  Slow down.  Take a deep breath.  Be silent and listen for a while.”  Yes.  That is exactly what the great saints have always said in regard to prayer.  The best prayer, according to many, is silence: communicating with God by giving Him a chance to talk and honing our own listening skills.

If you are in prayer and you find yourself with nothing to say but you’re saying it anyway, try silence.  It’s golden.  And it gives God a chance to speak.

FAITH ACTION:  Try to create some time today for silent reflection.  No talking, no praying out loud.  Just silence so that God has a better chance of being heard when He speaks to you.